ADHD: How we diagnose it, in a nutshell

  • The diagnosis of ADD is purely “descriptive” and there is no lab test for it (although labs can be used to see if some other disease is causing the attentional problem).
  • The most common type of attentional disorder in the adult is ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder without hyperactivity.
  • Questionnaires can be used to screen for ADD but a definitive diagnosis requires psychological testing.
  • Part of the workup for ADD involves the PCP or Primary Care Physician to do a history and physical and get basic lab tests to make sure there is no underlying medical problem.
  • The PCP or psychiatrist should also obtain a urine test for drugs of abuse as drug addiction can mimic ADD and has a different treatment.
  • Stimulant medications are controlled substances in the state of Texas requiring the prescriber to do so on state-issued prescription pad.